My tips for installing a home theater system

With the cost of High Definition TVs steadily dropping, more and more consumers have also been investing in home theater systems. For an incredible home theater experience, there has to be more than compelling visuals. What the perfect home theater system should be is loud, comfortable and integrated to ensure exceptional delivery of the best quality movies, music and TV shows right to our living or family room.


Choose the right video and audio components


We must look for the right size TV for the room. It takes more than getting the largest screen we can afford, as there’s a science to this. We must choose a TV according to the size of the room, as well as the viewing distance of people from the screen to have maximum enjoyment for the most number of people. A person should ideally sit at a distance 1.5 to 2.5 times the size of the screen from the TV. Remember: TV sizes are measured diagonally, or from the screen’s top left corner to its bottom right corner. With a projector, we can adjust the screen size but this type of equipment will need a large blank wall onto which video will be projected. There has to be 12 to 15 feet between the wall and the projector for excellent results.


Speaker configuration and placement


When deciding how to setup a home theater system, we need to consider the multiple seating locations that we want as this can also influence our decision on whether to go for a 5.1, 7.1 or 9.1 system. The center channel speaker should be placed directly below or above the display, as this component is where most of the dialogue in a movie come through. If the center channel speaker can’t be located directly above or below the TV, we just need to ensure that it’s as close to the display as possible and angled towards our ears. The front left/right speakers should not be too close together since that will create a small sound stage that results in losing out on separation among the center, front right and front left speakers. Neither should they be placed too far apart.


Surround speakers should go directly to our right and left. Surround back or rear speakers are extra surround components that are quite helpful when there are multiple rows of seating. The subwoofer is the .1 in a 5.1, 7.1 and 9.1 system. The best place for it is not a set criteria, as we are supposed to do trial-and-error for optimal placement.


Connecting the speakers and subwoofer/s

Never mix up the positive and negative ends of the speaker wire when plugging them into the receiver. Red is positive (+), black is negative (-). The wire that attaches to the positive terminal on the speaker should be the same one that goes into the positive terminal of the receiver; this goes both ways with the negative wire. Spade and/or banana plugs facilitate connecting and disconnecting equipment while reducing the likelihood of wires shorting out or touching. The subwoofer hooks up with a single RCA cable. The plug that says sub preout or sub out should be connected to the input on the subwoofer.

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